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Capgemini Cars Online 08/09 - 10th Annual Global Automotive Study: Tracking Consumer Car Buying Behavior

Capgemini’s annual Cars Online global automotive study highlights how consumer vehicle buying behavior across both mature and emerging markets is changing and how manufacturers and dealers must respond to these changing dynamics to maintain a competitive advantage.

Download the Full Report:

Introduction 3
Executive Summary 4
10-Year Review: What a Difference a Decade Makes 6
Emerging Markets: The Key to Future Growth 8
Brazil: Vehicle Buyers Know Green 8
Russia: Western Purchase Patterns Emerge 9
India: Tech-Savvy Consumers Turn to Online Tools 10
China: High-Growth Market, Demanding Consumers 11
Vehicle Research: Market Maturity Impacts Behavior Patterns 12
Going Green: Emerging Markets Focus on Fuel Efficiency 14
Web Usage: Interest in Online Vehicle Buying Jumps 17
Customer Interaction: A Holistic Approach to Building Loyalty 22
Customer Satisfaction: What Needs to Change? 25
The Next 10 Years: Conclusion and Recommendations 27

Welcome to the 10th annual Capgemini global automotive study – Cars Online 08/09.
This year’s study expands our coverage of consumer buying behavior beyond traditional mature markets such as the
United States and Western Europe to include several emerging markets: Brazil, Russia and India, in addition to
China, which we have covered since 2004. As these developing markets become increasingly vital for the automotive industry, companies must understand how consumer purchase patterns in these countries differ from or mirror the behavior of car buyers in established markets.

This year we also take a deeper look at top-of-mind issues like fuel efficiency and alternative-fuel vehicles, the use of new online tools such as blogs and discussion forums, and customer satisfaction with the vehicle buying process, including consumer suggestions on what would improve the buying experience. As this is the 10th annual issue of Cars Online, we have also reviewed results from the past decade to see just how much has changed and what clues that can provide about the decade ahead. During the past 10 years, Capgemini has surveyed almost 42,000 consumers across 15 countries, as well as 300 automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and 2,500 dealers, which adds up to significant insight into vehicle buying behavior. Some of the consumer knowledge gained over the course of this research has been highlighted in fact boxes. Look for them throughout the report.

The research for this year’s study involved more than 3,100 consumers in the United Sates, Western Europe (especially Germany, France and the UK), Brazil, Russia, India and China. The executive summary provides an
overview of key findings from the research, and the sections that follow offer more in-depth data and analysis on each of the emerging markets as well as key topics such as vehicle research, lead management and customer loyalty. We also look at the changes consumers expect to see in the way they buy a vehicle in the coming 10 years. “The whole vehicle buying process will be done with a click of the mouse,” said a consumer from India, reflecting a sentiment expressed by the majority of respondents in our study.

We hope the findings of Cars Online 08/09 will provide automotive manufacturers and dealers with insights into changing consumer dynamics in both mature and developing markets, and will help the industry gain a better understanding of how to successfully anticipate evolving consumer needs and demands.

Executive Summary
“It will be as easy to buy a vehicle online as it is to buy a book or bottle of perfume over the Internet.” “Combustion engines will be just for classic cars.” “I hope we will be able to buy direct from the manufacturer at the cost the dealer
pays so as to be able to get a better model for a fair price.” “Buying a car will be like putting together a Lego kit. You will choose standardized components from different manufacturers that will be assembled into your car.”

As these quotes from our Cars Online 08/09 research make clear, consumers have some very definitive ideas about
the way they expect to buy cars in the future. These qualitative comments, together with the extensive quantitative data from the study, point to the importance of understanding consumer needs and behavior patterns, particularly as automotive companies turn to new growth markets to offset static sales in traditional western markets.

Key Findings
The research uncovered a number of key findings:
Fuel economy is as important a factor in a consumer’s choice of vehicle as are safety and reliability.
The impact of volatile gasoline prices can be seen in all markets, with nine out of 10 respondents pointing to fuel
economy as an important or very important consideration in their vehicle choice. In Brazil, it was the number one factor, cited by 97% of respondents. While reliability, safety, fuel economy and price are consistently rated among the most important decision criteria, there are significant differences beyond these common factors. In particular,
consumers in emerging markets put greater emphasis on more short-term factors such as 0% financing, cashback
incentives and additional warranty coverage.

All emerging automotive markets are not alike. Understanding both the similarities and differences among the four developing markets studied is essential to succeeding in these high growth regions. Brazilian consumers, for example, are far more likely than those in China, India or Russia to own or have interest in fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles. Russian consumers demonstrate buying behavior that is closer to that of respondents in western markets. For instance, 21% of Russian respondents said they were likely to buy a used vehicle, the highest of the emerging markets. At the same time, the research uncovered some consistent trends among the emerging markets. Respondents in all four developing economies indicated strong interest in buying vehicles over the Internet,
heavy use of new online tools such as blogs and web forums, and higher levels of customer satisfaction with the
overall vehicle buying process. In some respects consumers in emerging markets demonstrate less sophisticated
buying behavior than those in western countries, but they are also extremely technology enabled, indicating the
potential to leapfrog established practices in western markets in a short time.

Shown below are selected charts from this Capgemini Study that should be of interest to ADM members:

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